How do Arctic Explorers go to the toilet.

The question of how astronauts go to the toilet has been covered extensively but I have never come across any reference of how Arctic explorers manage to go to the toilet without getting their asses frozen off. :eek:

As I understand it temperatures are so low that any exposed skin will freeze in seconds, throw some water in the air it will be frozen ice before it hits the ground.

So how do they do it?


My guess would be that the first explorers would climb into some kind of shelter (i.e. a tent) and shit in a bucket. Without any windchill your body heat will keep your skin from freezing that fast. My second guess is that modern arctic explorers basically use a somewhat fancier version of the exact same thing*!*

The blokes on Top Gear just mounted a toilet seat to their trailer hitch. See here.

I used to have a friend who worked up in the frozen wastelands. That was a question I asked him. They used “chamber pots” inside for pooping. If they needed to pee, they would usually do it outside and really fast before their male parts retreated into their bodies. Women would always use the “chamber pots”.

As I understood it, privacy went away when living in a single room with a bunch of other people.

I’ve always sort of wondered why people do those solo treks to the poles. Now it makes perfect sense.

As I understood it, privacy went away when living in a single room with a bunch of other people.

I’ve been in such a situation and you adapt. People see what you’re preparing to do and they arrange themselves to be looking some other way. No one wants to watch you shit. You mind your business and they mind theirs.

Problem is, I don’t just want people not to see me do my business. I want there to be no clue for them that I ever actually do business at all. I don’t want anyone thinking about it even in an abstract sense. Ideally, I think we should all deny that business even exists.

If I ever get a serious business-related medical problem, I probably won’t even go to the doctor. I’ll just die. That’s how shy I am about this.

thinks about Martian Bigfoot’s ‘business’

Or you can use a “piddle pack” like pilots use. A kind of portable, hand held tube you go into which has absorbent like a diaper.

I read a bunch of books about the arctic, and antarctic explorers at one point. I was digging Franklin at the time. And Shackleton absolutely rocks the genre. But I remember them talking about shitting in their britches and shaking out the frozen turds. Really.

Ok, I laughed :~)

I loved this response Martian Bigfoot. It is beautiful.

I think I may have felt that way. But boot camp with commodes without partitions must have cured me.

This is absolutely not meant as an insult, but you think like a civilian. I don’t know if they still do it this way, but 25 or 30 years ago military basic training deliberately and systematically stripped away any privacy during basic training. Latrines had no stalls. They were just rows of toilets. Opportunities to shit alone were very few indeed. Opportunities to do anything alone were very few.

I was more interested in the practicalities rather than the niceties of toileting in extreme cold.

I was thinking of Henry Worsley the British explorer and his failed attempt a few days ago in an unsupported solo attempt to cross the Antarctic.

He had no had no worries about privacy in doing his business, but would he have to put up his tent each time he needed to phoo?

What if he had stomach problems? staying squatted on the pot even in a tent for any length of time might get your ass frozen :frowning:

Taking a pee surely has it’s problems. Finding your erm! tool under all those layers of clothing would take some time letting the cold in so by the time you were ready to pee it would possibly come out frozen already :eek:

Another thought comes to mind. I read somewhere under international agreement that nothing must be left in the Antarctic, everything must be take away. So does this mean poor Henry had to collect up all his poop and take it with him on his 1000 mile journey, thereby his sled load never getting lighter as he was probably getting weaker as the journey progressed.

Give me the tropics every time :slight_smile:

When I was a child in Northern Minnesota, we had no indoor plumbing. We would have to go to the unheated toilet to do our business when it was 30 below. Quite an experience. :slight_smile:

Also note that (ant)Arctic explorers tend to do their trips in the summer months, thus the chances that they will experience -55F or colder temps is low so they have a good 5min or more to do their thing. While it may not be the arctic as the area I was in averages 13.8 C in July and the bar is 10 C to be considered the arctic and I was blessed with unseasonably warm weather I did have the pleasure of needing to do this north of the Arctic Circle this past December. It was only -17F or around -42F with wind chill. I was quite surprised when I didn’t notice the cold while in the position. I did use my vehicle as a fairly effective wind break though.

Yeah, my mother grew up on a farm in North Dakota and they had an outhouse. I’ve visited ND with -40 F temps and -80 F windchills. I can’t imagine having to use an outhouse in the middle of a winter night there.

How did they do it ?

Speedy evacuation . You can pinch a loaf very quickly if you have to .
" In a Pinch "?

One of the better post / poster name combinations seen recently.